S e p t e m b e r   2 0 0 3

Sketch Pad

Cacy Lee
Life after loss
by Kathy Anderson

revelatory trip to Paris caused Cacy Lee to rethink her career as a therapist. She now teaches art to people with disabilities. Cacy was born in Minneapolis, grew up in Seattle, and now calls Portland home.

Just imagine
Thanapolis is an imaginary place where Cacy Lee's connection with death is revisited over and over again.

"Thanapolis tombstone," collage

"Thanapolis is also a state of mind where opposites co-exist along with other possibilities," she said.

"Life and death can be felt at the same time, joy and sorrow are experienced simultaneously, day and night exist in the same place at the same time and the blood of a dying friend is like a river of gold.

"Thanapolis exists because of the need to experience beauty and order in the horrible and chaotic."

The ideas for Cacy's pieces come from dreams, relationships, fleeting interactions, observations and her experience with death.

"Frying Pan Baby" is an image from a dream; "Frisco's Tree" and "Daffodils for Mom" emerged out of the loss of loved ones.

"Death is definitely my strongest influence," she said.

Cacy is also influenced by spiritual ideas, such as Kaballah and Christianity, and by the philosophy of existentialism.

"Daffodils for Mom," conte crayon

"I'm most often preoccupied with internal stimuli and prefer to wander around in my own little world, gathering up inspiration and influence wherever I find it," she said.

The art of Dali and Frida Kahlo is "odd enough" to appeal to Cacy. She also admires the movement in Van Gogh's work.

Thrilled to the bone
Cacy's first collage pieces were made with magazines, construction paper and oil pastel. Her recent 2-D collage pieces use computer images of her own art rather than magazine cutouts.

"I'm just beginning to explore the realm of 3-D," she said. "For these pieces I use recycled wood products, glass, leather, chicken bones and living plants. The idea of using something living and something dead in the same piece of art thrills me."

"Frying pan baby #1," conte crayon

Cacy has shown her work in Portland at Another Moon Gallery, the Convention Center, various cafés on Hawthorne and at Urban Grind Coffee House.

Her October shows include Caffe Destino on Northeast 14th and Fremont, and a First Thursday artist's reception at Independent Living Resources, 2410 SE 11th Ave., where she'll have a few pieces alongside some of her students' work.

Changing direction
Cacy was the kid who was frequently asked to work on the class projects that required some artistic skill.

"I enjoyed art as a child," she said. "I liked to look at bugs under my microscope and draw all of their amazing little parts. Sometimes I'd crawl into the back of my closet and make 'machines' out of pieces of junk that I'd collected.

"And I will always be grateful to my older sister, Linda, who first taught me that shapes had lines and that those lines had to be consciously addressed."

"Frisco's tree," graphite/colored pencil

Cacy describes her senior year in high school as one big art class.

"I graduated with the honor of being voted 'Most Artistic of the Senior Class,'" she said.

A few years later Cacy entered college with plans to major in art. After two years at PCC she transferred to Marylhurst College thinking she would finish her degree.

Due to a "major distraction," Cacy ended up with a bachelors degree in social science and a masters degree in social work.

"The sudden death of a loved one moved me to reconsider my priorities in life," she said. "I continue to be distracted by the certainty of death; it's an existential pain Prozac can't touch."

The turning point in Cacy's artistic life was a 1997 trip to Paris.

"I went to the P'ere Lachaise Cemetary, and with a bottle of Adelscott and a cigar I made a commitment to steer my life towards the arts," she said.

"Grant in green," oil pastel

Open to suggestion
Cacy's immediate goal is to improve the quality of her 2-D and 3-D work

"I'm not sure how the relationships between the materials will hold up, and I'm not satisfied with my use of color," she said. "I'm not a very patient person and I can see the quality of that impatience in my work."

Cacy admits to being rather closed to criticism regarding the content of her pieces, but she is open to criticism and comments regarding form.

"I would welcome new and useful ideas about how to get the 'little hairs' out of my wood pieces when I'm finished sanding them, or which glue is best for permanent bonding, or ways to create a more fluid line and so forth," she said.

"Producing quality work is an important goal for me."

E-mail Cacy at cacylee@yahoo.com and check out her Web site. You can reach Kathy at kanderson138@attbi.com, and draw on other Sketch Pads.

site design / management / host: ae
© 2001-2005 nwdrizzle.com / all rights reserved.